There are lots of things in life that I can easily trust God with.
I trust that the sun will rise each morning and the moon will come out and light up the night sky. I trust that the seasons will come and go and that in summer I will get to wear my favorite sandals until the leather straps fall off and eat a ton of ice cream.
Trusting God with the “good” stuff is pretty easy. Trusting God with my finances has been a different story, and my guess is that you might share in that feeling.
It’s been a long winding road full of peaks and valleys and countless nights spent on my knees praying for protection.
When I look back at my life, it’s obvious that God has never left my side, and has always provided - after all, that’s what he promises us. And yet, whenever a money challenge arises, it’s easy to fall right back into the stress, panic, fear, and disconnect that God so lovingly urges me to escape from.
I want to share three powerful words that I’ve found comforting and empowering in the somewhat chaotic journey of learning to trust God with your finances: Fear, Forgiveness, and Faith.
Have you ever found yourself reading a scripture about letting go of fear only to find that your very next thought is actually about fear?
Fear is a very real and human aspect of dealing with finances and yet the most glaring shout out that we’re not, in fact, trusting God with our finances.
When you’re stuck in the grips of fear, it is easy to keep yourself from making any money move, let alone a smart money move. I’ve found that the best way to combat fear when dealing with your finances is to let loose of your vision and ask God for his to shine...and then be prepared to take action.
What is God showing you in this season of your finances that you are fearful of? If you’re struggling with debt or living paycheck to paycheck, perhaps God’s inviting you into a trusting relationship with Him while also encouraging you to be the best manager of your finances right now.
If you’re struggling with being laid off from your job, maybe God’s inviting you to stretch your boundaries and try a new career while trusting that he’s opening doors in front of you.
I’ve learned that fear never subsides 100%. Instead, it flows like the ocean waves, and my job is to lean on His word while also being the best partner and manager of my finances in any tough season.
Memory scripture for pushing past fear - “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6
Forgiveness is one of the most powerful and overlooked concepts regarding your finances. As women, especially, we tend to hold on to past money mistakes so tightly that we can stop ourselves from moving forward at all.
I’ll just be super honest with you right here. As a Certified Financial Planner Professional® who has worked with hundreds and hundreds of women, there aren’t any original money mistakes. Whatever mistake, I like to call them mishaps, you’ve done in the past, chances are someone in your circle of friends has walked through also to some degree.
The problem is that talking about money isn’t a dinner time conversation. We don’t go to happy hour and shout, “Hey, guess what, I overspent last month, and now I have to rely on overdraft protection to bail me out.”
Instead, money mishaps lead to shame and guilt and put us right back into the fear phase.
One of the most powerful steps you can take right now is to write down all your previous money mishaps in an exercise called Financial Forgiveness.
The little ones and the big ones. Don’t censor yourself in this process at all - get it all out on paper. Once you’re done, and you’ve stared them down with an evil eye, tear them up, burn them, throw them away, whatever process works for you.
Just as God forgives you for all your mishaps, it’s time to forgive yourself as well.
Being smart financially isn’t just about dollars and cents. It’s a careful balance between the emotions of money and the practical steps to dealing with your money.
Memory scripture for dealing with financial forgiveness - “But I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.” Philippians 3:13
Probably the most important lesson I’ve learned, admittedly the hard way, about faith and finances is that I don’t see the whole story. I only see a scene out of the movie.
God’s got the whole script in His hands, and He knows exactly how this all plays out. He knows how the debt is going to be paid off, how you’re going to afford to have a baby, and how you’re going to make it until you find a new job.
It’s in those times where our faith must rise to the occasion.
What He asks of you and me is to be a good steward with what He’s provided, no matter what, and in the words of the late George Michael, “I gotta to have faith, faith, faith.”
It’s easier said than done for sure, but this is our journey as Christ followers. We’re not always going to be perfect, and we’re going to find ourselves in many seasons of balancing fear, financial forgiveness, and faith.
I don’t need to do anything but get up, show up, and be the best me each day regardless of what the balance on my ATM receipt says.
When I lose faith, which can come and go as fast as the breeze, I always return to Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
Shannah Compton Game is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional with an MBA that is on a mission to revolutionize how people think, act, and feel about their finances. She owns a boutique financial planning firm where she helps creative entrepreneur clients, and is host to the universally popular iTunes podcast, “Millennial Money.” Millennial Money has helped thousands of listeners demystify money topics in a playful way and features interviews with musicians, authors, chefs, and entrepreneurs to help inspire listeners to embrace their own calling. Aside from her podcast, Shannah is an accomplished financial writer, and her financial expertise has been highlighted in articles for Women’s Health, MSN Money, Reuters, Bankrate.com, Refinery 29 and Yahoo! Finance to name a few. Connect with Shannah on her website.